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January 28, 2014


[Combat Zone Press Release]

SALEM, NH— Andrew Tripp wants his number one ranking in the amateur welterweight division back, but don’t expect Paul Gaffney to surrender it willingly when the two undefeated fighters battle in the main event of Combat Zone MMA 47 at Rockingham Park on Friday night. “I absolutely intend to take back my number one ranking,” said Tripp (5-0), who fights for Team Irish and lives in North Waterboro, Maine. “Paul’s a good fighter and it’s going to be a good match. I look forward to meeting him in there and I think it’s going to be a good experience for both of us. It’s definitely one of the best amateur fights I’ve been able to get.”

Gaffney (3-0), who bears the standard of Team Link in Hooksett, New Hampshire, took over Tripp’s top spot after Tripp dropped out of the New England fight scene following his first round win by submission on May 18. Tripp followed his girlfriend and his heart to Montana and took a break over the summer before resuming training, but now he’s come home and is ready to climb back into the cage.
“I’ve been training great,” said the 21-year-old, who has won four of his five fights by first round submissions and the other by unanimous decision. “I’m ready.”
So is Gaffney, 30, who has a pair of TKOs plus a split decision earned in his last fight on August 30 on his resume.

“I see Andrew as a great fighter. He was ranked number one in New England for quite a while but I believe I’ll give him a really good run for his money,” said Gaffney. “Of course he wants to take that top rank back from me. I’m more than happy to get into the cage with him and feel almost privileged to do that. Fighting better and better guys every single time throughout my whole career is definitely a goal and he’s one of the better one-seventies in the amateurs right now.”  Tripp, who had high praise for his opponent as well, said, “I’m glad we’re of the same mindset and we can both take a lot out of this. We’re going to put on a great main event.  When Paul and I fight, both of us are going for the win. It’s not going to be one guy trying to survive. I look forward to it,”  Although retaining the top spot is important to Gaffney, it pales in comparison to what he is really fighting for. Make that who he is fighting for.

Gaffney and his wife have two children, six-year-old Andrew IV and four-year-old Harlee Grace. Both were born with Canavan disease, which is a degenerative disorder that causes progressive damage to the nerve cells in the brain. Life expectancy for children with the disease is not long and there is currently no cure.
“I fight for them. Everything I do is for them. They’re fighting a rare disease and my son has been fighting it every day for six years and my daughter has for four years. They get up every day and do their thing. The least I can do is fight for them.  I will definitely be supporting their disease on my shorts,” said Gaffney, who brings Paul IV to his matches and into the cage to celebrate his victories together. “My son is always with me.”

Team Link has two other fighters on the all amateur card with 10 bouts entitled Winter Brawl.
Kenny Murphy is 5-0 and the region’s top ranked flyweight and he takes on No. 1 bantamweight Jay Perrin from Hudson, New Hampshire and Nashua’s Team Triumph, in the co-main event at 135 pounds. Manchester’s Nick Alley (1-1) battles Shane Mulligan (2-0) from the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance on the well-matched and intensely competitive undercard.

“This is probably the first time that all of the fighters we’ve had are similar to their opponents,” said Ed Carr, Team Link’s top man. “Paul and Andrew Tripp are very similar. I think Paul maybe has an edge in his stand-up (game) on the power side of things and Andrew is probably a little bit stronger on the ground than Paul. Paul’s game is very good, but I think Andrew has spent more time studying that.
“With Kenny’s fight, once again they are both very similar fighters. I think Jay may underestimate Kenny and be thinking he’s stronger than him. Kenny is a very small kid, but he’s strong, strong, strong. Kenny has technical skill and better stand-up than Jay, and Jay’s probably going to be a little more aggressive in the clinch and against the cage. Overall, I don’t think Jay has fought anyone like Kenny before.”
Carr thinks that Mulligan may have an edge over Alley in the stand-up game, but that his fighter may surprise his opponent with his strength and his ground game.

“They’re both well-rounded fighters,” said Carr, who noted that all of the fighters come from excellent camps and are well prepared. “As much as I love Kenny and Paul, that one has the possibility to be fight of the night.  Just the way they match-up will make this a very good fight.”

Doors open at 6:30 PM and the first fight goes off at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $40, $50, $75, $90 and $120 and may be purchased through or calling promoter Calvin Kattar at 978-305-3372. The weigh-in will be held on Thursday, January 30 at Rockingham Park and it is free and open to the public.